There are many distinguishable features that make Indigo Husk, Indigo Husk.
Whether you first notice the patterned wardrobe choices that somehow both match and clash in perfect harmony, or hear the distinct drawl of the tantrum vocal, or the brotherly relationship that quite clearly formed the foundation of the quartet, they have something. For me, it was watching the boys demolish chimichangas (apparently they’re the signature dish of the restaurant of the same name) in roughly thirty seconds flat, and not suffering with some kind of indigestion.
“Unfortunately the way that this works is that you learn from mistakes and things going occasionally pear shaped.” drummer, Joe Taylor starts. The boys are on the final night of touring with Will Joseph Cook, and are cradling their J20s and virgin mojitos. It’s been a great week apparently; one of numb bum cheeks from driving, two McDonald’s a day, and forgotten guitars in Northern cities. It’s the right step up for the Londoners, who have survived the demonic traps laid by big city promoters, or rather “loan shark motive companies” to pray on the young. Having once fallen victim to the ‘pay to play’ system, quite simply playing gigs is a thrill in itself. “It’s ruining young bands.” they agree, poised and ready to write a book entitled, ‘How Not To Get Fucked Over Aged 16’. But it’s also ruining the experiences that young people need – to go into a half falling down venue, and support these young bands from the off. Adopting a Sheffield accent and with a wiggle of the hips, frontman Joe Hamm impersonates Alex Turner’s infamous Brit Award speech, explaining; “We’re all passionate about this and we’ve all agreed that if we were given a platform, like if we won an award or something then we’d call them out.”
As a band, these boys have each other’s backs. Put them around a dinner table and they’ll bounce off each other, they’ll add to discussion and they’ll hype each other up in adoring compliments. Put them on a stage and the enthusiasm of one is quadrupled, even more so when they catch a glance of each other in action and share that moment. Put them in a rehearsal room and they’ll use each member’s taste, be it impeccable jazz bass (thanks to Joe Mac), an interest in world music or the emotion from the latest relationship upset, and boil them in one pot. “We have a good rapport with each other, our relationship is so strong with each other. Even when somebody might be acting out, we know how to deal with it so that there’s never any arguments or any problems.” JH, the self confessed diva, explains, “It’s something that happens over time.”
Last year they put together the Itchy EP and it was the perfect formal introduction. Highly addictive, full-bodied songs of “teenage stuff, man” are heavy with slinky bass and surf rock bittersweet melodies. Delivered with boyish charm and stomped feet, each song individually explodes as a different face to a different mood, with the wit to match their intelligent and nifty arrangements.
“What you will see of us and it’s something that we will always be reluctant to change is that there’s not one sound and it’s not going to be one sound. The next single that we release might be a bit more rocky or whatever but the one after that is going to be different.” JH explains, leaning across the table with an excitement in his eye, “I don’t believe that all of your emotions lead to one sound, because they don’t.”
The songs explore religion and relationships, intoxication and behaviours, in quick-fire candid lyricism. Adapting like chameleons, Indigo Husk are able to wrap their instruments around lyrics and make each an individual. “When I write it’s so fucking erratic or whatever, and us as a band, the way that we bring the songs together might not sound like one sound but you’ll know it’s us. I think that’s important about us as a band and I don’t want to change that.”
‘Quick’, for example is a rollercoaster ride in itself as a slow burner, with a freestyle grunge-meets-jazz break that diagnoses a listener with whiplash. Whilst ‘Mockingbird’, quick steps as an uptempo pop number that throws its arms in protest. They’re epitomes of the teenage frustrations that everybody experiences but bottles up, except they’ve been shaken up and sprayed against the walls. “I think everyone forever basically has had reason to be angry and emotional, and to be upset about stuff, so I don’t think that we’re living in a unique moment.” Flynn Allott explains, “I think each generation thinks that they have the most reason to be upset but if you actually look across there’s been a constant level of emotions.” Indigo Husk don’t localise their emotions in tracks, in fact, they’re laid out and are there for the taking for whoever needs to get riled up.
Latest single, the lo-fi ‘Goes Around Comes Around’, boasts a nagging riff and should be played at a volume high enough to torment. Spinning the frustrations of trying to figure out what somebody else is thinking, the track relentlessly swirls into wonderful chaos. Making a scale with his hands, the frontman says; “If you take time to look at yourself and you see your like positive energy and negative energy, it’s like two balances.” Confiding, “I felt like I was at a point in my life where I was just exerting loads of negative energy which is what I’ve been writing about recently.”
Where is isn’t necessarily karma, Indigo Husk have recently found relief and comfort in making small changes to turn their attitudes and perspective around to a more positive place. For Joe Taylor, it’s quite simply, “I’m a believer in if you’re a bit of a dick, then shit will catch you up.” For Flynn, it’s putting on old Radiohead tracks and pretending to disappear, even just for a little while. It’s a mutual agreement that, “As long as you’re like trying to be a good person then that’s what is important.”
On tour, these practices have been intensified. “Learning how to balance internally your mood and emotions and health and living out of a van and staying on friend’s floors… this is important.” JT says, and has been reading about touring musicians and mental health. “It’s kind of unspoken. I think even just us doing just over a week, but living on top of each other, there’s moments where you really have to know when to take a break and put headphones in and relax. Balancing yourself and not eating a load of crap and just being nice to each other even when your bum has gone numb after a drive from Leeds to Edinburgh, how to deal with that.”
Performing live however, it’s crystal clear that Indigo Husk are truly at home. They’re masters of the stage, conductors of carnage and indie rock stars in the making. “There’s so many records out there and it’s so easy to listen to any record that has been made. So actually going to a live show has probably got more communication and purpose about it.” Flynn says. “To be there present and see that happen once in that way on that night, as cringey as that sounds, I think it’s a really beautiful and rare thing.
“You don’t get feelings like live music.”
Knowing that young people are leaving the house to go and see a band who have spent hours writing and rehearsing, and then driven across the country to perform in a venue, is a feeling that Indigo Husk never want to shake. Catch them live. They’re guaranteed to win you over, and make you dance any worries away.
Words by Tanyel Gumushan